Tag Archive | Isabel Greene

Story Time ~ Happy Birthday America!

Written by
Katherine Hinchee Purdy

It’s that time of year again! The time to look back, reflect and thank God for our wonderful country. Thankful for freedom! Happy Independence Day weekend!

Photo used with permission.
Photo used with permission.

“Isabel Greene, if you don’t stand still you will get stuck with a pin,” Mama said as she pinned the blue fabric with straight pins from her mouth.

“But I like to swish!”

“That’s fine,” Mama said as she removed another pin from her mouth and turned the child around to get to the back of the dress. “You may swish all you want – after I finish hemming your dress.”

“Yes Mama,” Isabel said quietly but swished her skirt as Mama bent over to retrieve the pins she had just dropped.

“Baby Maggie didn’t have to stand up to get her dress hemmed,” Isabel said as she looked at her little sister sitting in the high chair nibbling on a piece of crust.

“Baby Maggie doesn’t know how to stand yet. Now carefully step down from the stool and look at your dress in the mirror.”

“Oh Mama, it’s beautiful.” Isabel said as she swished from side to side. Ouch! It bit me!”

“That was just a pin dear. Now turn around slowly,” Mama said as she stood back to get a better view. “Isabel, you will look like a doll on the fourth of July! Just like a little sailor girl.”

Just then the screen door clapped loudly and Mama turned to see Isabel’s two older brothers racing to the ice box. “Just a glass of milk boys, lunch will be ready soon!”

“Mama,” Eugene said as he glanced at Isabel swishing in her new blue dress trimmed in red and white. “Do we hav’ta wear those silly costumes to the parade and picnic tomorrow?”

“Yeah,” five-year-old Curtis chimed in. “Those look too sissy!”

“No, they do not look sissy and yes, you must wear the sailor suits I made for you. It’s perfect for the occasion.”

“The other boys will laugh!” Eugene plopped into the kitchen chair and reached for the cookie jar.”

“If anyone laughs at a sailor suit, they should be ashamed of themselves.” Mama took the cookie jar and placed it into a cupboard. “Besides, your nephews will be wearing the same thing. After all, your half-brother Jim is in the army and Fred is in the navy. You are wearing the suits to honor them. They are fighting for freedom. Don’t ever forget that,” Mama said softly as she placed her sewing notions into her basket and put it away.  “Isabel,” Mama said as she reached for the child. Carefully take off that dress and put your play dress back on. Here, let me help you. We’ll get you changed in your room while the boys finish their milk.”

~*~

     The next morning, Isabel awoke to the sound of Papa whistling a new song they had heard on Grandpa’s radio. Over There by Mr. George M. Cohen. “Catchy tune, aint it?” Papa said as Isabel entered the room wearing her new dress. “Well, don’t you look pretty?”

“Thank you, Papa.”

“Oh dear,” Mama said. “It’s too soon to wear your new dress; it will get dirty. We’ll get you all prettied up when it’s almost time to go.”

“Yeah,” Eugene said, “Don’t want to spill milk on it” and stopped short; whispering in Curtis’ ear.”

“Boys,” Mama said sternly, “if you mess up your suits before we go, I will insist that you wear the sailor hat Jim sent you.”

Eugene and Curtis looked at each other and then quickly shoveled oatmeal with their heads bent over the bowl.

“Mama, we could make bows for their hair just like the ones you made for Maggie and me.” Isabel said with a twinkle in her eyes.

“No way!” Curtis shouted and looked at Papa for help.

“Better do as your Mama says boys, I wouldn’t want to see my boys running around with a girls bow in their hair!” Papa looked at Isabel and winked.

~*~

     “Are we there yet?” Isabel asked from the back of the buckboard.

“We’ll be there in three shakes of a lambs tail,” Papa said with an edge of impatience in his voice.

Isabel closed her eyes and imagined a fluffy white lamb shaking its little tail three times. “It shook three times. Are we there yet?”

Papa turned to Mama. “She can count?”

“She can count to ten!” Mama said proudly, “By next month, she may be able to…” Music, clapping, chatter and laughter filled the air with excitement.

“Papa, they’re playing the song you were whistling this morning,” Eugene said and began singing along with the music.

“And we’ll all be glad when it’s over-over there!”

“I hope we didn’t miss the parade,” Curtis said as he cast a sidelong look at Mama who, in his estimation, took too much time packing lunch and dressing the girls.

“Nope, the parade doesn’t start until two so that everyone will have time to eat lunch. I would like to catch some of the baseball game. How about I take the boys over to the stands? The game will begin after the band plays a couple of songs.”

“That’s fine,” Mama said, “but don’t buy any hotdogs or peanuts! We have better ways to spend our money.”

Papa made quick work unloading the buckboard and herded the boys towards the baseball stands.

~*~

     “Lizzie! Isabel! Over here!”

Mama placed baby Maggie into the pram and reached for Isabel’s hand as they followed Lindy’s voice.

“Hello little sister,” Lindy said as she picked up Maggie and spun her around. “Why, Isabel! You look like a china doll in that lovely sailor dress.”

“Oh look, little Maggie is wearing one too. Where did you buy them?”

Mama beamed at her two little girls and addressed her step-daughters and daughters-in-law. “I made them. The boys are wearing sailor suits too although it was like pulling teeth to get the boys to wear them!” Laughter filled the air as relatives welcomed them to the Fair Grounds.

“Don’t unpack your food yet,” Aunt Jenny said as she turned and reached for Baby Maggie. Cleo is checking with the vendors to see how much the hot dogs cost. They smell too good to pass up! Oh good. There she is now.”

“I can’t believe it!” Cleo said as she reached the group. “The prices are actually reasonable. You can buy two hotdogs for a nickel or a big hamburger for a nickel. Peanuts are only 2 cents per bag. What do you think? Shall we feed our gang with Fair grounds food?”

Isabel chimed in with the other children. “We want hotdogs, we want hotdogs! Pleassssssssssssssssseeeeee?”

Mama opened her coin purse and smiled. “I think we have enough – this time. What shall we do until lunch time?”

“The swings are free. Why don’t we take the children over there. They can play in the sandbox too.” Lena said as she picked up her baby Grace, soothed her and placed her back into the baby carriage. “We have so much to talk about. The game will be over before you know it!”

     Isabel ran to catch up with her nieces and younger nephews. “Isabel,” Mama’s voice rang loud and clear. “Don’t get your dress dirty!”

Just as Mama finished speaking, Isabel tripped on a tree root and skinned her knee. Tears filled her eyes as she looked down at dirt covering her new dress and a large red spot on her white, torn stockings. “I’m sorry Mama. I’m so sorry,” Isabel repeated as Mama stooped down to assess the damage.

“Oh, you’ve skinned your knee!” Mama reached into her pocket and pulled out a small container of water and her handkerchief. “It will be okay. It’s not a deep cut but it may be sore for a while.”

“But I got my dress dirty.” Isabel’s blue eyes filled with tears as she looked up at Mama’s compassionate face.

     “That’s alright dear. The dirt brushes away and we’ll just slip those stockings off and no one will know the difference. Besides, do you know why we are here today?”

“There’s a parade and a picnic and a-a-fire?”

“Fireworks. Beautiful but loud streams of light fill the sky in a beautiful show!” Mom said as she finished cleaning the scratch and blew a kiss over the spot to make it heal more quickly. “Tender loving care always helps,” Mama said with a smile. “Now about the special day. Did you know that a long time ago our land was owned by a king far, far away? The king had never been to America but he claimed it anyway by sending ships of soldiers to make sure we obeyed his rules and paid high taxes. We sent letters to the king. We sent men to the king to tell him he was being unfair; that we could work something out but the king was selfish. He wanted the land and people to do his will. Well, the reason people came here so long ago was to be free of the king and his unreasonable rules. Did you know that America was the only place people could go in order to worship God and The Lord Jesus Christ without people trying to stop them?”

Isabel shook her head and listen wide-eyed.  “Well,” Mama said as she reached for her grandchildren who gathered around, “people prayed for a solution. They prayed for the king to change his mind.”

“Did he?” a little boy spoke up. Isabel suddenly realized they were surrounded by children she had never seen before and the swings were empty.

“No, sad to say, he didn’t.” Mama said softly. “He made it harder for our people. They had to pay taxes on just about everything. Finally, some men in Boston – up north- had enough. They couldn’t take it anymore. Back then, Americans liked to drink English tea instead of coffee. Fabric from clothes were brought on English ships. Just about everything we needed came from there but we decided we would make our own fabric. We had sheep and goats to sheer and spin the fibers into wool for knitting and weaving. We called it homespun.”

“Homespun!” a little girl spoke up. “My grandma made that!”

Mama nodded with a smile and continued. “One night when the supply ship was in Boston harbor, some of the men dressed up like Indians and sneaked aboard the ship and threw all the barrels of tea into the water. To this day, we call it The Boston Tea Party.”

“Wow!” A little boy exclaimed and leaned in closer. “What happened next?”

An older boy stood up. “It started a war didn’t it?”

“Yes it did.” Mama said and took a deep breath. The king was so angry, he sent thousands of soldiers, wearing fancy red coats with lots of guns and swords. They thought our men were not very smart and wouldn’t know how to fight so they expected the war to end quickly. But they were wrong. Oh, we didn’t have fancy uniforms – except for the officers. George Washington led our men. We had “militia” which meant they were farmers, black smiths, wheelwright’s, merchants, regular men who volunteered to protect our land.

Our men fought to protect their wives, their children, their parents and their land. They fought in the fields. They fought behind trees and fought in ways the British soldiers were not used to. Very important, smart men; the Continental Congress worked together in secret so that the kings soldiers wouldn’t know what they were doing. John Adams persuaded a plantation owner  from Virginia named Thomas Jefferson to write a declaration of independence. In fact, that’s just what it is called. The Declaration of Independence. It declared we were free from British rule and were a country now with 13 separate states working together for our freedom.  The Declaration of Independence was signed by some very famous men including John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock. Each man who signed represented their state. Isn’t that wonderful?

Isabel watched boys and girls nodding their heads and nodded with them. Another child stood and cleared his voice to get Mama’s attention. “Ma’am we won that war, didn’t we?”

Mama’s smile lit her face. Yes indeed we won that war and became a free nation under God. The Declaration of Independence was accepted by all of the men on July 4, 1776. Today is July 4, 1917. We are celebrating today because today is the birthday of our great nation – The United States of America!

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~*~

     Isabel watched in wonder as the band played songs that night and men in the same uniforms her older half-brothers wore marched to the bandstand. One man in each different uniform carried a flag and one held a large red, white and blue flag with white stars in the top corner. Everyone stood. Man raised their hand to their forehead in a salute, other men, women and children stood too. Mama showed Isabel how to place her hand on her heart and whispered in Isabel’s ear, “To honor men who fought for our freedom, to honor men like your brothers who are fighting today for freedom and to show that we love our wonderful country, the beautiful United States of America!”

Suddenly, there were loud blasts causing Isabel to jump and baby Maggie to cry. Papa picked up Isabel and put her on his shoulders. The sky was filled with beautiful colors and shapes. “Fireworks,” Papa said.

“Like birthday candles?”

Papa chuckled. “Well, it’s our country’s birthday so I guess so.”

Little Isabel thought about the story Mama had told her earlier; that men died so that we could live free. “Happy Birthday, America, Happy Birthday!” she shouted.  “Thank you God for giving us a free country – like Mama said!”

 

Egg Shampoo and Rainwater: Sample Chapter from The Vision of a Mother’s Heart (Katherine H. Purdy)

The weeks of rain showers reminde me of one of my favorite chapters in

The Vision of a Mother’s Heart!

 

 In 1924 some things were done differently. Isabel’s family had a pump in the kitchen but it only pumped cold water. Families who lived in the country only took a full bath once a week as well as washing their hair. In order to conserve water during a dry season, families kept a rain barrel under the gutter to catch rain water. If you were creative, you could turn a chore such as washing your hair into a play time. My grandmother talked about washing her hair in the rain and allowed her children to do the same. When I was a child, I wanted the same experience but was told there was too much pollution in the air.  So, lets enjoy Isabel and her two sisters experiencee from Chapter 22 of The Vision of a Mother’s Heart.

Egg Shampoo and Rainwater

“WELL,” MAMA said as she placed the last loaf of bread into the oven, “tomorrow is Sunday, so we need to wash your hair, girls.”

“May we wash our hair in the rain?” Isabel asked as she looked outside at the cool, steady rain from the kitchen window.

“You always say that rain water smells good and we won’t have to use up the well water for our hair.” Isabel smiled as she made the last comment, knowing Papa was worried that the well would go dry before the end of the summer.

“Well,” Mama said, “I suppose it would be alright as long as you agree to come back inside at the first sound of thunder.

Go upstairs, and put on your bathing clothes so you will not mess up your work clothes.”

“Yes, Mama,” Isabel said. She headed for the back steps to her room. Maggie and Sylvia followed and then passed her on the steps.

“Oh boy,” Sylvia raced to their room. “I love playing in the rain.”  ”Sylvia said as she quickly dressed.

“Well,” Isabel said, “we are not playing in the rain; we are washing our hair.”

Isabel said. She pulled out her bathing I wish Mama and Papa would allow us to wear the new style like everyone else.

These old things are heavier than our regular dresses. Besides, they look ugly, and they are no good for swimming.  The last time we went swimming, I nearly drowned because my clothes were full of water and dragging me under water.”

“I remember,” Maggie said. She giggled and watched Isabel make funny faces at the offending fabric.

“Ye gads,” Isabel said. She attempted to button the dress portion of her swimsuit.

“Isabel,” Maggie said, “you just used God’s name in vain.”

“No I didn’t. I just said the same thing everybody says.”

“Mama wouldn’t like it..”

“Oh, Maggie,” Isabel said to her sister, who was also struggling with her suit, “you are such a goody-goody sometimes.

Besides, I said g-a-ds and with a little g – like the Roman gods, you know.”

“That does not make it right, Isabel. It is still using God’s name in vain,” Maggie said.

 Isabel decided to drop the issue.

“I’m telling Mama you’re swearing,” Sylvia said as she headed for the bedroom door.

“Please don’t tell her.  It will only upset her, and I promise never to say that again.” Sylvia twisted the doorknob, and Isabel spoke up once more.

I will give you a nickel if you don’t tell.”

“Okay,” Sylvia said. She took the coin from Isabel and Now shut your eyes, and don’t peek!”

Even with her eyes closed, Isabel could hear Sylvia placing the coin under her mattress for safekeeping. Next, Isabel could hear a soft thud as Sylvia removed her hand from under the mattress and a trashing sound as her hands were smoothing out wrinkles from the covers.

As if we didn’t know where she keeps things she doesn’t want us to see,” Maggie said as Sylvia exited the room.

“What do you mean?” Isabel questioned with suspicion.

Sylvie always puts her money and other secret treasures under her mattress. Didn’t you know? ”

“No,” Isabel said.

Maggie said with a smile. “You keep your diary in that old hatbox in the far right corner of the closet,

and the key to unlock it is on a string hanging behind the picture on the wall.”

“Maggie Greene,” Isabel said, “you’ve been snooping.”

Maggie said sweetly as she walked to the window and pulled back the curtain, revealing the old climbing tree a few feet from the house.

“If you want to hide something in our room, you should close the curtain or make sure no one is sitting in the tree reading. ”

“Margaret Louise Greene,  it’s impolite to spy on people; you should have let me know ”

“I saw your diary and you wrote that you have a boyfriend.”

“I do not have a boyfriend!”

Isabel and Arnie sitting in a tree…” Maggie chanted as she took off down the steps with Isabel close behind.

“No running in the house, girls,” Mama said as they entered the kitchen. They slowed their pace to a quick walk as they stepped outside

into the pouring rain.

“Now girls,” Mama said as she stepped onto the back porch. “Lather your hair twice, and be sure to get the suds out.

I will mix up the rinse and be back in a few minutes.”

The three girls twirled around in the rain until their hair was completely wet and then stepped back onto the porch.

“Here,” Isabel said. She picked up the jar of shampoo. “I’ll pour some on your hair, and then you can pour some on mine.”

She poured the amber liquid onto Maggie’s head and massaged it into her sister’s hair. Next, Isabel turned and repeated the

 same for Sylvia. Then Maggie poured the slimy liquid onto Isabel’s head.

“Work up a good lather,” Isabel said as she worked the shampoo through her own long hair.

“Sylvie, it looks you’re wearing a crown on your head. Maggie, let’s see how high we can pile the suds on your head.”

The girls giggled as they made funny figurines on their heads.

“We should rinse it off or the suds will make our head itch.: Isabel quoted Mama, who warned them each time they washed their hair.

“We know that,” Maggie said and then raced off the porch to rinse the suds from her hair and was followed by her sisters.

 

The girls danced around in the rain again as they attempted to rinse out the offensive lather.

“Oh no,” Isabel said, “the rain is slacking off.”

“Let’s do the second lather before it stops altogether,” Maggie said.

 

They ran back to the porch and repeated the procedure. Just as they stepped off the porch, the sky seemed to open up

with the heaviest rain they had seen all year.

Sylvia said. She twirled around, allowing the rain to wash her face as well as whisk away the shampoo.

“My hair feels softer already and smells good too,” Isabel said.

 

Mama stepped onto the porch with a tray containing three jars. She handed Isabel the jar with an amber-colored liquid.

“Apple cider vinegar to rinse your pretty brown hair.”

Isabel wrinkled her nose as she drenched her hair with the pungent rinse. “It stinks,” she said.

“It will make your hair nice and shiny, and it will wash away the suds,” Mama said.

She handed the jar of lemon juice to Maggie and then poured the liquid from the remaining jar on Sylvia’s head and worked it through her hair.

“Why do we have to use lemon juice?” Sylvia asked.

“Because you have blonde hair; it will make it shine like the sun. Now, run back into the rain and rinse.”

The girls obeyed their mother and stepped back onto the porch to squeeze all of the water out of their hair.

Isabel ran her fingers through her hair as she pushed the water out and then squeezed.

“Do you hear that?” she said. “Squeaky clean.”

“Perfect!” Mama said and handed each daughter a dry towel. “Now squeeze the water out of your suits, and go inside.”

 

After changing from their wet clothes, Isabel and her sisters returned to the kitchen to sit by the stove to dry their hair as they

enjoyed freshly baked cookies and hot chocolate.

“I love washing my hair in the rain,” Isabel said.

“Me too,” the younger girls agreed.

“Yes,” Mama said, “I’m thankful for the rain which will help the crops grow and will help keep my family clean.”

 

The argument between Isabel and Maggie was lost in the suds and washed away with the raindrops.

 

The Watch (Part 4) Preview Chapter for Hope Beyond The Sunset By Katherine Hinchee Purdy

The Watch
Preview chapter from Hope Beyond The Sunset
By Kathreine Hinchee Purdy
(Isabel’s Story Book 2)

 

 

Isabel waited until every student had left and softly walked to the teacher who sat at the desk, fingering the watch around her neck with a far-away look on her face.

“Miss Meredith,” Isabel said softly as she touched the teacher’s arm. “I’m sorry about your friend. He sounds wonderful.”

“He was,” Miss Meredith reached for a hankie tucked into her sleeve and dabbed her eyes. “How did you know?”

“Your watch – you don’t just wear it to tell time. You trace the design with your fingers when you think no one is watching. I do the same thing with Mama’s hankie.” Isabel pulled an embroidered handkerchief from her handbag. “When Mama died, I kept this because it smelled like her. It’s one of the few things we saved when the house caught on fire a few weeks after Mama died. Sometimes I hold it to my face and remember Mama.”

The teacher nodded and touched Isabel’s arm. “Your Mama would have been very proud of you.”

“I hope so,” Isabel said softly. “Sometimes I wonder if she would be sad that Papa gave us away.”

“It must have been very difficult for your Papa to find homes for all nine of you. I understand it is only temporary,” Miss Meredith said gently. “He was brave to make the wise decision to put your future before the comfort of having all of you under one roof.”

“If Papa could have gotten married, we could have stayed together. I hope he finds someone soon,” Isabel said as she picked up her school books and turned toward the door. Just as she reached the doorway, she turned to face her teacher again.”

“Miss Meredith,”

“Yes, Isabel?”

“Do you think you will ever get married?”

 

Reviews for The Vision of a Mother’s Heart

Dear Kathy,
I finished reading The Vision of a Mother’s Heart, and thoroughly enjoyed it. What a sweet book! It reminded me of the “Waltons” in some ways, the family, that is. However, their trials and tribulations were far greater, but the message that flows through it–faith, hope and love–resonates with all of us. For He is the answer to all of our troubles! My heart went out to little Isabel–what a legacy she has left for you and your family!
You mentioned that you are considering a sequel to it, and I think that would be a great idea because I wanted to know more about this family and what happened to them!
Take care,
Carolyn
Carolyn Tyree Feagans

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this is a book that truly is God centered. I am recommending this book to my congregation.

The faith in God that Mrs. Greene had was evident in her everyday life and in the teachings to her children and every one that she came in contact with. Isabel was a very rich little girl; not monetarily, but in all the Godly blessings that she had.

Isabel’s story touched my heart. I am anxiously waiting for Katherine Hinchee Purdy’s next book that will take us along on Isabel’s life journey.

Anonymous from Barnes and Noble.com

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5.0 out of 5 stars The vision of a Mother’s heart,November 8, 2011
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Vision of a Mother’s Heart (Paperback)

This book made me laugh and made me cry. Reading about the Greene Family draws you into their lives and draws you closer to what really matters in life, God and Family. I read this book in one day. I am looking forward to finding out what happens next with Isable Greene and her Family. What an amazing life she lived. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. This book is entertaning but at the same time teaches important life lessons.